Canadian guitarist Dan Kozar's first release, entitled I Remember You,
creates a vivid fabric of lyrical beauty within the confines of solo guitar. Kozar, a lifelong resident of Welland, Ontario, began his pursuit to become a professional guitarist at age 12. In his formative years, Kozar gained his education on the bandstand, at Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz Studies, and at the Banff School of Fine Arts, where he was mentored by Canadian jazz guitar legend Ed Bickert.
Kozar's release contains eleven tracks of some of the most recognizable standards in the American songbook. The use of space gives this release a signature theme in a world of streaming eighth notes and sheets of sound. I Remember You is a celebration of yesteryear. The musical journey begins with the classic standard "All the Things You Are." Kozar's counterpoint between the bass lines and the melodic/harmonic elements in the mid to upper register of the guitar helps create an illusion of a conversational duet. In the title track, "I Remember You," the melody is juxtaposed with rhythmic stabs and a livelier tempo. "The Girl from Ipanema" draws its strength from the nylon string sound Kozar uses throughout the recording. However, as I continued to explore Kozar's release I found myself desiring a texture change. Within the liner notes Kozar is pictured with a steel string archtop. This color change could have added to the sonic palette. Far from being a guitar slinger, Kozar lets the beauty of the songs shine through. His interpretations are on the safe side, mainly staying true to the songs' original harmony and historical interpretations.
Overall, you've got to love anyone who is gutsy enough to do a stripped down solo release in a world of designer clothes and lattes. Kozar's release is a great introduction for the new jazz listener or is ideally suited for a dimly lit corner in a quaint café where romance is the entrée.